What's The Difference Between Fostering And Adopting?

Foster fails are THE BEST 😍

dogs traveling in a suitcase

If you’re new to the rescue world, you might be wondering what the difference is between fostering and adopting a dog or cat.

While both are crucial parts of the rescue world, there are some slight differences between the two — like the fact that one is permanent and one isn’t (but sometimes turns into a happily permanent situation).

What’s fostering?

Fostering means you’re taking a dog or cat into your home, but only temporarily — you’re basically letting them live with you until they find a forever home so they don’t have to stay at a shelter. 
“Fostering is a trial run when you can’t commit to a permanent new family member at the moment or aren’t sure what dog would work best for your lifestyle,” Shelby Semel, head trainer at Animal Haven rescue in New York City, told The Dodo.

Though some fosters do it as a trial run before adopting, other people foster if they have too many permanent pets in their home but still want to help an animal in need.

A foster animal can live with their foster family anywhere from a few days to a year or more, depending on whether they’re ready to be adopted.

It’s an important part of the rescue process because it helps a dog become acquainted with how to live in a home, sometimes among other pets or children, which helps them get adopted when they’re ready!

Others even sign up to do hospice fosters, which means they’re letting an old or very sick dog or cat live out the rest of his life in a home environment rather than in a shelter. 😭

What’s adopting?

Adopting, on the other hand, means you’re taking on the full responsibility of that animal — and the dog or cat is now yours forever!

Keep in mind, though, that tons of foster parents end up adopting their foster animal if they’ve developed a special bond or find that they’re an amazing family fit.

“When you find ‘the one,’ you become a foster fail!” Semel said. “What a great way to allow a dog to be cared for and loved while they wait for their perfect home. A real mitzvah!”

If you’re ready to get started on either fostering or adopting, reach out to a shelter near you!